The Annals of Regional Science

, Volume 41, Issue 4, pp 927–950 | Cite as

Rajin-Seonbong, new gateway of Northeast Asia

  • Jin Cheol JoEmail author
  • César Ducruet
Original Paper


The economic zone of Rajin-Seonbong (Raseon) is located at the north-eastern border of North Korea, adjacent to China and Russia. Although its attractiveness to foreign investors has remained limited since its creation in 1991, Raseon is of growing interest as a transit port for Russian and Chinese trade. This paper reviews some theories on the constraints and advantages of remotely located ports, arguing that limited economic base can be overcome by a strategy based on transhipment flows to and from China, South Korea, Russia and Japan. In particular, it develops the idea that economic factors, such as remoteness from the nation’s core region, are not sufficient to explain the uneven success of the project. More likely is the mismatch between local industries and port facilities. Unlike the Chinese free-trade zone experiment, port and logistics development in North Korea may take place prior to industrial development, strengthening Raseon as a potential gateway and growth pole in Northeast Asia.

JEL Classification

R1 R11 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Korea Research Institute for Human Settlements (KRIHS)Gyeonggi-doRepublic of Korea
  2. 2.School of Economics, Faculty of Applied Economics, Department of Port, Transport and Regional Economics Burg. Oudlaan 50Erasmus UniversityRotterdamThe Netherlands

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